In March, the nation will once again commemorate the anniversaries of "Bloody Sunday" and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches as the civil rights movement reached its zenith in 1965. This iconic mass protest movement for racial equality represented a monumental shift in both the legal policies and social consciousness of America and resulted in the passage of landmark legislation, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Yet almost half a century later, deep layers of oppression have yet to be uprooted—a reality that is starkly evident in our criminal justice system today. People of color are still disproportionately profiled, incarcerated, and sentenced to death at alarming rates, leaving Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of full racial equality and freedom yet unfulfilled.
These disparities have led many to believe that criminal justice reform should be the civil rights movement of the 21st century. If Dr. King were alive, would he prioritize criminal justice reform? Is mass incarceration the new Jim Crow of our time? And will this generation of civil rights and criminal justice advocates eradicate racial disparities in the criminal justice system in their lifetime? Please join us to consider these and other important questions with an outstanding panel of criminal justice and civil rights experts.
Vanessa Cárdenas, Director, Progress 2050, Center for American Progress
Kanya Bennett, Director of Programs for Criminal and Civil Justice, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy
David Domenici, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Aderson Francois, Associate Professor of Law, Howard University
Christina Swarns, Director of the Criminal Justice Practice, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Tracy Velázquez, Executive Director, Justice Policy Institute
Deborah Berry, Reporter, Gannett News Service